Henry Mahan

While I was in Ireland in 1972, I preached in a Baptist Church in Limerick. The pastor, Brother Allen, told me that the church building, and six other buildings like it, were sponsored and largely paid for by Spurgeons's congregation in London. The cost of the seven buildings was twenty-one thousand pounds in 1890. Most people are aware of Spurgeon's power in the pulpit but not many are aware of his generous missionary spirit, his deep concern for young struggling preachers, and his willingness to help other churches. He once said to a young preacher, "you go down to so-and-so, and never show yourself again until you have established a chapel. Hang on by your hands, and then by your teeth, and then by your eye-brows. I will find money to keep you in bread and cheese! You have to establish a self-supporting cause and do not come back till you have done it.

"If you will go, preach Christ and establish a chapel, I will find money to keep you in bread and cheese." I have a burning desire to say this to the young preachers and faithful missionaries I know. We have been able to help some, but not as much as I would like nor as many as I would like. Let our church be a clearinghouse, not a counting-house! No church of the Lord Jesus Christ should have a savings account. We need no more than enough to pay our present obligations! "Give us this day our daily bread." Manna was only gathered for that day. Find a missionary to support; help a young preacher and his family; help a young congregation build a place to worship and preach the gospel—or send your gifts to me: I know several places where it is needed by those who are preaching the gospel of His grace!

Those who know this church know that the money given each year could build a most impressive temple of worship, employ specialists in music, religious education, and youth work, and sustain a large bank account—this would be to deny the very gospel we preach and the commission of our Lord. We prefer to use, wisely and generously, every dollar to preach the gospel of Christ through television, tapes, missionaries, and other churches. I believe God, (not as much as I could, should, or would) and I know that if I ask, I will receive, especially if I ask on behalf of my brethren who preach the Word. "Lord, I'm asking for the power and the will to be a second cause—to be a Samaritan on the road—to be a Joseph opening the storehouse to all who need!" I hear the church people sing, "My Father is rich in houses and lands, He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands." Then I hear them in their business meetings arguing and debating over a few measly pennies—either their Father is not as rich as they say or they don't believe it!

"He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." (II Corinthians 9:6-8.)

Our Lord said in Matthew 9:29, "According to your faith be it unto you. " Churches! empty your treasury, clear the desk: give, and it shall be given you; but it is foolish to think that the Lord of Glory is going to add to your molding bread and your rusting gold. When the widow told the prophet of God that she had only enough meal and oil for one cake for her and her son, he replied, "Make me a cake first! " If we can find a church with enough faith to do this—their barrel shall never be empty! My opinion is that this spirit and attitude must begin in the pulpit. Churches usually reflect the attitude of their pastors! When our Lord was questioned about His doctrine, He replied, "Ask them that heard me, they know what I preach."

Henry Mahan, Pastor
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.

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